A 5-year Tracer Medicines Availability Trend in the Obstetrics Gynecology Department of a Teaching Hospital

Justice Dogbey1, Amah Nkansah1, Victoria Adjei1 Diana-Adu Mintaah1 Stella Ayimuka1, Emil Brookman-Amissah1,Daniel Ankrah1

1 Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, P.O. Box KB 77 Accra, Ghana.

August (2023) pp 1-10 DOI: https://doi.org/10.38159/gpj.2023101
Published online 31st August 2023.
© 2023 The Author(s). This is an open access article under the CCBY license


Medications are indispensable in women’s healthcare. Yet, there are barriers to their availability. Tracer medicines (TMs), as a representative subset of Essential Medicines (EMs) was pioneered by the World Health Organization (WHO) with a 100% expected availability benchmark. Managing the availability of TMs is a determinant of pharmacy performance, access to medicines and healthcare quality. There is paucity of studies on the availability of TMs in an obstetrics and Gynecology unit of a hospital.

The aim of the study was to assess availability of TMs in in an Obstetrics Gynecology (O &G) Department of a Teaching Hospital.

The study was conducted on the 31st of January each year from 2019 to 2023 at the O & G department of Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital. Data collected were analyzed using a modified WHO/ Health Action International (WHO/HAI) methodology to review TM availability only. The original WHO/HAI methodology reviews TM prices, availability and affordability. TM is available if physically existent and unexpired on the day of survey.

At the O & G, there are 21 molecules that are classified as TM. For the years 2020, 2021 and 2023, all 21 molecules were 100% available on the day of the survey. In 2019 and 2022, 85.7% and 90.5% availability were recorded. Specific TMs that recorded some stock outs were Injections Ephedrine 30mg, Injection Magnesium sulphate 50%, Injection pethidine 100mg, Injection Vitamin K 1mg, as well as Tetracycline eye ointment.

Availability of TMs for women’s healthcare was less than 100% expected benchmark on some occasions. Policies are needed to improve availability, through an improved management of tracer medicines. A hospital-wide survey of more specialties is desirable for a wider view of access to TMs.

 Keywords: Tracer Medicine, Availability, expected benchmark

© The Author(s) 2023. Published by the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana (PSGH). This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.